Last Christmas

Last Christmas

2019, PG-13, 102 min. Directed by Paul Feig. Starring Emilia Clarke, Madison Ingoldsby, Emma Thompson, Boris Isakovic, Henry Golding, Michelle Yeoh, Lydia Leonard.

REVIEWED By Josh Kupecki, Fri., Nov. 8, 2019

There are so many incredible aspects to Last Christmas, it’s difficult to figure out where to begin. It’s akin to an unexpected present received from a friend on that titular day, a surprising tonic to a genre that delights in making the holidays either celebratory or morose (or both, usually). Let’s begin with the inspiration, which you will only be unfamiliar with if you haven’t ever gone shopping during the Christmas season (highly unlikely). A seasonal perennial, Wham!’s beloved and eponymous song has inspired a film that was co-written by Emma Thompson (along with Bryony Kimmings). Thompson had actually been working on the story prior to George Michael’s death in 2016 and got his blessing to adapt it. Believe me, it gets much more interesting from there.

So, to begin: Daenerys Stormborn, er, Emilia Clarke, is a Croatian émigré named Kate who is trying to eke out a life in London, basically living out of the carry-on bag she carts around everywhere and working in one of those year-round Christmas stores, run by Santa (Yeoh, slightly one-note, but it’s the note she does well), that cater to a clientele enamored of that holiday. Kate meets-cute with Tom (Golding), a too-good-to-be-true guy who rides around the city on a bicycle and volunteers at homeless shelters, which is a subplot that while bringing in that holiday ethos of giving, is somewhat problematic in that, guess what? All the homeless people are happy for some reason. Add to that forays into the life of Kate’s sister Marta (Leonard), a successful lawyer whose relationship with another woman is being kept a secret from her mother, Petra (Thompson, clearly having fun with her accent), and their father, who is driving a minicab for money, and you have this weird convergence of holiday cheer and social commentary.

But you know what? It works. Director Paul Feig is not unfamiliar with traversing these waters of a slap and a tickle. He’ll give you the Christmas cheer and also the realities of life, and it’s helpful that Thompson and Kimmings have razor-sharp instincts when it comes to that short, sharp, shocked brand of British humor that we all love so well. And Clarke, as Kate, is luminous in the role. Of course, if you are familiar with the song, you know that someone gives their heart away, but the very next day, they give it away. The literal aspects of that song I will not spoil, but it’s fascinating that Clarke herself had to undergo multiple surgeries for a brain aneurysm after filming the first season of Game of Thrones, which makes the film all the more intriguing. A spiritual successor to Love, Actually (which is probably why it got the green light in the first place) Last Christmas is the Fight Club of holiday movies with George Michael looking from the beyond, and I couldn’t be happier.

Showtimes

Mon., Nov. 11

12:05, 2:50, 5:35, 8:20, 11:05

Tue., Nov. 12

2:55, 5:40, 8:30, 11:15
AFA 12:10
OC 7:00

Wed., Nov. 13

12:10, 2:55, 5:40, 8:25, 11:10

Alamo Drafthouse Slaughter Lane

5701 W. Slaughter, 512/861-7060, drafthouse.com/austin/theater/slaughter-lane

Showtimes at this venue are subject to frequent change. Please confirm daily times by phone or website.

Mon., Nov. 11

12:05, 2:55, 6:55, 9:50

Tue., Nov. 12

3:20, 10:40
AFA 12:35
OC 7:15

Wed., Nov. 13

12:30, 3:25, 9:55
OC 6:15

Mon., Nov. 11

1:15, 4:00, 6:45, 9:35

Tue., Nov. 12

4:00, 6:45, 10:25
AFA 1:15

Wed., Nov. 13

1:20, 4:10, 7:00, 9:45

Barton Creek Square (AMC)

2901 South Capital of Texas Hwy, 512/306-1991, www.amctheatres.com

Matinee discounts available before 4pm daily. Bring Your Baby matinees the first Tuesday of every month.

Mon., Nov. 11

CC/DVS 12:10, 2:40, 5:10, 7:40

Tue., Nov. 12

CC/DVS 12:10, 2:40, 5:10, 7:40

Wed., Nov. 13

CC/DVS 12:10, 2:40, 5:10, 7:40

Cinemark 20 and XD

N. I-35 & FM 1825, 512/989-8535

Cost for 3-D and XD shows is regular ticket price plus a premium.

Mon., Nov. 11

digital 10:45am, 1:35, 4:25, 7:15, 10:05

Tue., Nov. 12

digital 1:35, 4:25, 7:15, 10:05

Wed., Nov. 13

digital 1:35, 4:25, 7:15, 10:05

Cinemark Cedar Park

1335 E. Whitestone, Cedar Park, 800/326-3264

Call theatre for complete list of movies and showtimes.

Mon., Nov. 11

digital 11:10am, 2:00, 4:40, 7:30, 10:10

Tue., Nov. 12

digital 11:10am, 2:00, 4:40, 7:30, 10:10

Wed., Nov. 13

digital 2:00, 4:40, 7:30, 10:10

Thu., Nov. 14

digital 2:00, 4:40, 7:30, 10:10

Mon., Nov. 11

digital 11:00am, 1:45, 4:25, 7:05, 9:40

Tue., Nov. 12

digital 11:00am, 1:45, 4:25, 7:05, 9:40

Wed., Nov. 13

digital 11:00am, 1:45, 4:25, 7:05, 9:40

Cinemark Round Rock

4401 N. I-35, Round Rock, 800/326-3264

Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium. Call theatre for complete March 26-28 showtimes.

Mon., Nov. 11

digital 11:20am, 2:00, 4:45, 7:30, 10:15

Tue., Nov. 12

digital 11:20am, 2:00, 4:45, 7:30, 10:15

Wed., Nov. 13

digital 11:20am, 2:00, 4:45, 7:30, 10:15

Cinemark Southpark Meadows

9900 S. I-35, 800/326-3264

Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

Mon., Nov. 11

digital 10:45am, 1:15, 4:30, 7:30, 10:15

Tue., Nov. 12

digital 10:45am, 1:15, 4:30, 7:30, 10:15

Wed., Nov. 13

digital 10:45am, 1:15, 4:30, 7:30, 10:15

Cinemark Stone Hill Town Center

18820 Hilltop Commercial Dr., 512/251-0938, www.cinemark.com

Mon., Nov. 11

digital 12:40, 3:20, 6:15, 9:00

Tue., Nov. 12

digital 12:40, 3:20, 6:15, 9:00

Wed., Nov. 13

digital 12:40, 3:20, 6:15, 9:00

City Lights Theatre

420 Wolf Ranch Parkway, Georgetown, 512/868-9922

Mon., Nov. 11

1:25, 4:25, 7:25, 10:10

Tue., Nov. 12

1:25, 4:25, 7:25, 10:10

Wed., Nov. 13

1:25, 4:25, 7:25, 10:10

EVO Entertainment

3200 Kyle Crossing, Kyle, 512/523-9009, www.evo-entertainment.com

Mon., Nov. 11

10:30am, 11:00am, 1:00, 4:30, 5:30, 8:00, 10:45

Tue., Nov. 12

10:30am, 11:00am, 1:00, 5:30, 8:00, 10:45

Wed., Nov. 13

10:30am, 11:00am, 1:00, 5:30, 10:45
OC 8:00

Flix Brewhouse

2200 S. I-35, Round Rock, 512/244-3549, www.flixbrewhouse.com/round-rock

Mon., Nov. 11

CC 10:45am, 4:00, 6:00, 10:30

Tue., Nov. 12

CC 10:45am, 4:00, 6:00, 10:30

Wed., Nov. 13

CC 10:45am, 4:00, 6:00, 10:30

Thu., Nov. 14

CC 12:00, 2:30, 4:00, 6:30, 10:30

Galaxy Highland 10

6700 Middle Fiskville, 512/467-7305, www.galaxytheatres.com

No one under 18 will be allowed in the theatre on Friday or Saturday after 7pm without an adult.

Mon., Nov. 11

CC 10:20am, 1:00, 6:30, 9:20
CC, OC 3:50

Tue., Nov. 12

CC 10:20am, 1:00, 3:50, 6:30, 9:20

Wed., Nov. 13

CC 10:20am, 1:00, 3:50, 6:30, 9:20

Thu., Nov. 14

CC 10:20am, 1:00, 3:50, 6:30, 9:20

Gateway Theatre

9700 Stonelake, 512/416-5700

Discounts daily before 6pm. Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

Mon., Nov. 11

CC/DVS 11:40am, 2:10, 4:45, 7:25, 10:00

Tue., Nov. 12

CC/DVS 11:40am, 2:10, 4:45, 7:25, 10:00

Wed., Nov. 13

CC/DVS 11:40am, 2:10, 4:45, 7:25, 10:00

Thu., Nov. 14

CC/DVS 11:40am, 2:10, 4:45, 7:25, 10:00

iPic Theaters Austin

3225 Amy Donovan Plaza, 512/568-3400, www.ipic.com

Mon., Nov. 11

12:15, 4:30, 7:30, 10:45

Tue., Nov. 12

12:15, 4:30, 7:30, 10:45

Wed., Nov. 13

12:15, 4:30, 7:30, 10:45

Thu., Nov. 14

11:30am, 3:45, 6:45, 10:15

AMC Lakeline 9

11200 Lakeline Mall Dr., Cedar Park, 512/335-4793

Discounts daily before 6pm.

Mon., Nov. 11

CC/DVS 11:30am, 2:00, 4:30, 7:00, 9:30

Tue., Nov. 12

CC/DVS 2:00, 4:30, 7:00, 9:30

Wed., Nov. 13

CC/DVS 2:00, 4:30, 7:00, 9:30

Metropolitan

901 Little Texas, 512/447-0101

Discounts daily before 6pm. Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

Mon., Nov. 11

CC/DVS 11:50am, 2:30, 5:20, 8:00, 10:40

Tue., Nov. 12

CC/DVS 11:50am, 2:30, 5:20, 8:00, 10:40

Wed., Nov. 13

CC/DVS 11:50am, 2:30, 5:20, 8:00, 10:40

Thu., Nov. 14

CC/DVS 11:50am, 2:30, 5:20, 8:00, 10:40

Moviehouse & Eatery

8300 N. FM 620, Bldg. B, 512/501-3520, www.themoviehouse.com/trails/

Mon., Nov. 11

10:00am, 1:00, 4:00, 7:00, 10:00

Tue., Nov. 12

10:00am, 1:00, 4:00, 7:00, 10:00

Wed., Nov. 13

10:00am, 1:00, 4:00, 7:00, 10:00

Moviehouse & Eatery - Lantana Place

7415 Southwest Parkway, Building 7, 512/572-0770, www.themoviehouse.com/lantana/

Mon., Nov. 11

10:00am, 1:00, 4:00, 7:00, 10:00

Tue., Nov. 12

10:00am, 1:00, 4:00, 7:00, 10:00

Wed., Nov. 13

10:00am, 1:00, 4:00, 7:00, 10:00

Thu., Nov. 14

10:00am, 1:00, 4:00, 7:00, 10:00

Schulman Theatres Lost Pines 8

1600 Chestnut St, Bastrop, 512/321-0123, www.schulmantheatres.com

Mon., Nov. 11

10:50am, 1:40, 4:40, 7:30, 10:30

Tue., Nov. 12

10:50am, 1:40, 4:40, 7:30, 10:30

Wed., Nov. 13

10:50am, 1:40, 4:40, 7:30, 10:30

ShowBiz Cinemas 8 Marble Falls

2600 Hwy 281 North, Marble Falls

Call theatre for August 22-23 showtimes.

Mon., Nov. 11

1:20, 4:15, 7:30

Tue., Nov. 12

1:20, 4:15, 7:30

Wed., Nov. 13

1:20, 4:15, 7:30

Thu., Nov. 14

1:20, 4:15, 7:40

Sky Cinemas

13201 US-290, 512/457-0700, www.skycinemas.com

Mon., Nov. 11

11:45am, 11:45am, 2:10, 2:10, 4:35, 4:35, 7:00, 7:00, 9:25, 9:25
11:45am, 11:45am, 2:10, 2:10, 4:35, 4:35, 7:00, 7:00, 9:25, 9:25

Tue., Nov. 12

11:35am, 2:00, 4:35, 7:00, 9:25
11:35am, 2:00, 4:35, 7:00, 9:25

Wed., Nov. 13

11:35am, 11:35am, 2:00, 2:00, 4:35, 4:35, 7:00, 7:00, 9:25, 9:25
11:35am, 11:35am, 2:00, 2:00, 4:35, 4:35, 7:00, 7:00, 9:25, 9:25

Thu., Nov. 14

11:35am, 11:35am, 2:00, 2:00, 4:35, 4:35, 7:00, 7:00, 9:25, 9:25
11:35am, 11:35am, 2:00, 2:00, 4:35, 4:35, 7:00, 7:00, 9:25, 9:25

Southwest Theaters at Lake Creek 7

13729 Research #1500, 512/291-3158, www.southwesttheaters.com

matinees $4, evenings after 6pm $5, $1.50 extra for 3-D.

Mon., Nov. 11

CC 11:20am, 12:30, 1:50, 3:00, 4:30, 5:40, 7:10, 8:20, 9:50

Tue., Nov. 12

CC 11:20am, 12:30, 1:50, 3:00, 4:30, 5:40, 7:10, 8:20, 9:50

Wed., Nov. 13

CC 11:20am, 12:30, 1:50, 3:00, 4:30, 5:40, 7:10, 8:20, 9:50

Thu., Nov. 14

CC 11:20am, 12:30, 1:50, 3:00, 4:20, 5:40, 7:10, 8:20, 9:50

Mon., Nov. 11

11:45am, 2:15, 4:15, 7:15, 11:00

Tue., Nov. 12

11:45am, 2:15, 4:15, 7:15, 11:00

Wed., Nov. 13

10:50am, 1:40, 5:00, 7:15, 11:00

Starplex 12 San Marcos

1250 Wonder World Drive, San Marcos, 512/805-8000

Mon., Nov. 11

11:45am, 2:20, 4:55, 7:30, 10:00

Tue., Nov. 12

11:45am, 2:20, 4:55, 7:30, 10:00

Wed., Nov. 13

11:45am, 2:20, 4:55, 7:30, 10:00

Thu., Nov. 14

11:45am, 2:20, 4:55, 7:30, 10:00

Westgate 11

4477 S. Lamar, 512/899-2717

Discounts daily before 6pm. Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

Mon., Nov. 11

CC/DVS 11:30am, 2:10, 4:50, 7:30, 10:20

Tue., Nov. 12

CC/DVS 11:30am, 2:10, 4:50, 7:30, 10:20

Wed., Nov. 13

CC/DVS 11:30am, 2:10, 4:50, 7:20, 10:20

Thu., Nov. 14

CC/DVS 11:00am, 1:40, 4:10, 6:40, 10:20

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Paul Feig
Tough Crowd
Tough Crowd
The setup: 21 depressives, neurotics, and social misfits walk into a book. Meet comedy's all-stars.

Kimberley Jones, July 3, 2009

More Paul Feig
AFF2012: A Conversation With Paul Feig 
AFF2012: A Conversation With Paul Feig 
'Freaks and Geeks' creator looks back

Leah Churner, Oct. 22, 2012

More Paul Feig Films
A Simple Favor
Anna Kendrick turns unlikely sleuth in this deliciously twisted romp

Richard Whittaker, Sept. 14, 2018

Ghostbusters
Controversy aside, this reboot fails to hit the mark

Kimberley Jones, July 15, 2016

More by Josh Kupecki
Greener Grass
Something weird in suburbia (again) but this is no Blue Velvet ripoff

Oct. 25, 2019

Celebration
Long-suppressed documentary of Yves Saint Laurent is style and substance

Oct. 18, 2019

KEYWORDS FOR THIS FILM

Last Christmas, Paul Feig, Emilia Clarke, Madison Ingoldsby, Emma Thompson, Boris Isakovic, Henry Golding, Michelle Yeoh, Lydia Leonard

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle